The Devils dropped a 6-2 loss against Washington at Prudential Center to close out 2017 despite goals by Kyle Palmieri and Beau Bennett. Here's what we learned:
1) Early in the first period, Tom Wilson hit John Moore face-first into the boards. He appeared to be immediately knocked unconscious and was taken off the ice on a stretcher with assistance from his teammates. There was no call on the play despite the fact that Wilson saw the back of Moore's jersey the entire way before delivering the hit. The explanation to head coach John Hynes was that it wasn't a penalty because Wilson didn't leave his feet to deliver the hit or launch himself into Moore, who was evaluated and later released from the hospital and placed on injured reserve with a concussion.
2) Although they didn't have a five-minute power play from Wilson's hit, the Devils had 12-plus minutes with the man advantage throughout the game on nine calls.....they had just seven shots and allowed Washington three shorthanded opportunities. That's simply not good enough and they are now scoreless in their past 17 attempts. On the flip side, the Devils remained fairly disciplined (there were some coincidental penalties) with less than two minutes of power play time for Washington with zero shots allowed.
3) The Devils still struggle with consistency. This wasn't the same team we saw on Thursday night in terms of aggressive offensive attack or strong defensive structure. The Devils were burned by positional breakdowns and unfortunate deflections. They've proven that they can be incredibly effective when they play to the potential of their game plan. As we've learned over the past few weeks, the challenge is playing to that potential every night.
The Devils will practice on Sunday before hosting Boston on Monday.